New at Applebee’s Grill & Bar:

Cedar-seasoned chicken, cheddar, maple mustard, bacon, grilled Piadini wrap. $10.49


This is one of Appelebee’s new “handheld” sandwiches, a wrap-and-roll inumber that should (depending on the diameter of the roll) be reasonably manageable with one hand.

Three things here: the meter of the sandwich name; the notion of a handheld sandwich; and the word piadini.

Poetic form. Maple bacon chicken piadini is a fine poetic line: trochaic tetrameter (SW SW SW SW) with a couple of unaccented syllables before the fourth trochee, giving some extra weight to the final foot.

(I could do without the sweetness of the maple syrup in the sandwich, but the word maple is good for the poetic line, trochaic tetrameter being a great line for popular music, folksongs, and the like.)

Handheld? Among the other sandwiches billed as handhelds are two that look like they could be managed only with two hands, by someone with a python-like hinged jaw.

The Triple Hog Dare Ya features pulled pork, Black Forest ham, thick-sliced bacon, crispy onions and melted cheddar cheese on a Ciabatta bun:


The Brew Pub Philly consists of sliced Montreal steak, fried jalapenos, peppers, onions, American cheese, and beer cheese sauce on a grilled Ciabatta roll:


piadini. The Italian original, from Wikipedia:

Piadina or Piada is a thin Italian flatbread, typically prepared in the Romagna region (Forlì-Cesena, Ravenna and Rimini). It is usually made with white flour, lard or olive oil, salt and water. The dough was traditionally cooked on a terracotta dish (called teggia in the Romagnol), although nowadays flat pans or electric griddles are commonly used.

… The first written evidence of Piadina as it is now recognized dates back to 1371

… Piadine are usually sold immediately after preparation in specialized kiosks (called piadinerie) filled with a variety of cheeses, cold cuts and vegetables, but also with sweet fillings such as jam or Nutella.

Note that piadina has both mass uses (referring to the bread: piadina is a flatbread) and count uses, notably in the plural, piadine (referring to sandwiches made with this bread: piadine are usually sold…). In English, it seems that both forms have been replaced by piadini, as on this Italian food site:

Piadini Caprese: We love Caprese salads, which is simply buffalo mozzarella, ripe fresh tomatoes, and basil dressed with olive oil, salt and pepper and I have taken those ingredients as a filling for this tasty piadini sandwich.

The bread is piedini, one sandwich is a piedini (as in the illustration for the recipe), more than one are called piedini:


I’m sure there’s variation here, as there is for panini, which is plural (only) in Italian but varies in English for the singular: a panino (as in Italian) or a panini.

Now, you ask, where does English piedini (with no counterpart in Italian) come from? We start from the Italian plural piadine. This has a word-final unaccented [e] in Italian, which is no big deal in Italian, but it’s a problem in English, since English has no word-final truly unaccented [e] — only secondarily accented [e] as in Moray (the eel). So English speakers adapt final unaccented [e] from other languages with the closest thing English has available, namely [i]: plural piadini.

Then this variant is generalized to singular use, just as with panini.


3 Responses to “piadini”

  1. Bob Richmond Says:

    Piadini, pronounced pee-uh-DEE-nee, I suppose. Who needs this word or this sandwich?

    Sanskrit grammarian Pāṇini continues to turn over in his grave.

  2. Ellen Says:

    I don’t understand your calling a line with five regular feet “tetrameter.” Why not pentameter?

    • arnold zwicky Says:

      I was assuming no accent on the first syllable of piadini, and I thought I’d heard an ad with that pattern, but now I can’t find it. So maybe pentameter was intended.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: